5 WAYS NEW CUSTOMERS CAN ENJOY GROUP BREAKS … EVEN MORE!
By: Joseph Lee
So, you want to get back into the hobby and start collecting again?
You discovered group breaks.
You love the idea of paying a fraction of the price of a box or a case to chase the teams and players you’re trying to collect. You especially love the idea of paying a fraction of the price for a chance to collect high-end/high-priced products that once seemed out of reach.
You love the thrill of the chase!
Long-time veterans of group case breaks already have their reasons for enjoying one group break channel over another. But those of you who are fairly new to group breaks may be wondering … How can I get the most out of my group break experience? How can I enjoy the hobby and this group break experience even more?
As a group break host, customer, and hobbyist…I wanted to provide you my recipe for enjoying group breaks…even more!
#1 – KNOW YOUR PRODUCT
“Wow, there’s so much different stuff these days!”
That’s the most common comment I hear from people rediscovering the hobby.
And they’re right.
In 2015, there were over thirty baseball releases, over thirty football releases, over twenty basketball releases and easily over a dozen new hockey releases. Plus there is a fast-growing market for other sports like soccer, UFC, WWE.
I know. It’s overwhelming.
But half the fun is getting to know all these new releases.
And when you know your product, you’ll be able to decide if a product has value for you whether you are a pure collector and rarely sell, a collector who enjoys flipping cards for a profit on a secondary market or a combination of both.
Use resources like BreakerCulture.com, CardboardConnection.com and GroupbreakChecklist.com to research each new release, how much they cost, how many cards you get per box, the players on the checklist, opinions about the release, etc.
#2 – KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
As you’re doing your research, it’s good time to starting figuring out what you want!
Everyone collects for different reasons.
Some may like one design over another, one may like the depth of a checklist, some may enjoy the luxury and quality of high-end products, while others are building sets from common-card-heavy sets, some are looking for products with high value on a secondary market or some may just be looking to fill out a personal collection.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you’re researching and about to invest in a product:
- Do I like the design of this product?
Some products feature a more artistic design while others will feature more action photography. Some products may feature unique inserts and low-numbered parallels identified by a different background design or color. Some may feature more relics/memorabilia embedded into the card.
The design of many products can be polarizing but the important thing to remember is if YOU like the design or not!
- Does this product have the players/teams that I want?
Be sure to consult the checklist to see if your favorite players are featured. This is also a good time to determine if the product focuses more on rookies or if they also include veteran or retired players as well.
- Does this product fit my budget?
Everyone has a different budget for the hobby so it’s important to figure out if a certain product has value for you.
Generally speaking, more expensive products will tend to feature better hits (i.e. autographs and/or memorabilia).
But keep in mind …
Inexpensive products may yield fewer hits (i.e. autographs and/or memorabilia) but may offer more common cards, more parallels, and the lack of hits may mean they’ll have a stronger value on a secondary market.
High-end products may be offered at a low price by many breakers but keep in mind that the higher-end products feature fewer cards (though, most of those cards will be serial numbered and feature autographs and/or memorabilia) so the chances of you getting a hit may be lower.
At this point, you may start to recognize whether you are more of a risk-taker or if you like to play it safe relative to your own budget.
- Does this product have value on a secondary market?
There are many collectors who collect and rarely re-sell on a secondary market.
However, there are many who also re-sell on a secondary market.
The idea of identifying a strong secondary market is somewhat difficult due to the fluid nature of the marketplace.
In a general sense, it’s the rookies and the low-numbered cards that have the most success in the secondary market. Of course, the popularity of the player in the hobby plays a very crucial factor as well.
If you’re looking for value, keep an eye on the prices on re-sale marketplaces like eBay.com, the general buzz surrounding a player in the hobby, etc.
#3 – ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY
We call it GROUP breaks for a reason!
It’s no secret that the number of card shops in your area is dwindling if not gone.
And with fewer card shops in the area, there are fewer opportunities to chat with the store owner and other collectors.
Sadly, it has been that way for a long time.
But with the growing popularity of group breaks online, you once again have the opportunity to interact with the host and other collectors from all over the world. It may not be quite the same as the experience of walking into a store but now you have the convenience of collecting and discussing the hobby no matter where you are.
Think of a group break channel like a virtual card shop!
And the more you participate in the conversation, the more enjoyable your group break experience will be.
A strong community will commiserate with you when you fail to score a hit and congratulate you when you hit a big card! And there’ll be an opportunity to shoot the breeze about sports, the hobby and whatever else!
The likeability of the host and the overall vibe of the community goes a long way in enjoying your overall group break experience.
Check the reviews on BreakerCulture.com to see who is the most likeable and entertaining.
And explore different breaking channels! There will be someone out there who fits your own vibe.
Oh, and engage with your host and the community to make sure you’re clear on the style of the break they are offering and “house rules” that a breaker might have regarding multi-player cards, players in their college uniforms, etc.
#4 – PARTICIPATE WITH YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CO-WORKERS
Share your group break experience with your family, friends and co-workers!
Not only can you help grow the hobby one person at a time, you can also just have fun being part of all the action with the people you know and love.
I’ve heard many people share their experience of watching and joining group breaks with their wives, husbands, kids and other family members. Families can watch together at home or have a chance to do something together with a family member that may be far away.
I’ve heard many friends and co-workers hanging out and joining breaks together.
Chances are, if you’re collecting sports cards, you like sports. And there’s already a lot of conversation surrounding the game and your fantasy sports team. Now there’s another thing you can talk about: The big hit that you pulled, the near-miss, the amazing one-of-a-kind card you were able to see.
#5 – MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY
There is nothing more frustrating than watching a live stream and having the video and audio cut in and out.
While there may be issues with the breaker’s software or the site hosting the live broadcast, more often than not, it’s the technology on your end that might be hindering your enjoyment of a group break.
Live broadcasts often consume more resources than just watching a high-quality YouTube video so make your computer, software and internet connection is on par!
- Most desktop, laptop and mobile devices purchased within the last few years or so should be more than capable of handling the live stream.
- If your recent device is having issues with a live broadcast, make sure all of your software on your device is up to date, make sure you do not have any malware or active programs eating up resources on your device, make sure you have enough memory and harddrive space to make sure your device is performing at an optimal level.
- Make sure your browser is up to date. And try different browsers. Some people may have more success with Google Chrome over FireFox and vice versa.
- Most Internet Service Providers these days offer more than enough bandwidth at your home and office to watch any live stream but make sure you have a strong internet connection.
- If you’re on a wireless connection, make sure you have a strong wireless signal by positioning yourself as close to the wireless router as possible. Multiple users on the same network may slow down the network. If multiple people access the network at the same time, then you may consider upgrading the bandwidth with your ISP.
- And there are ways to enjoy breaks on your mobile network!
Breakers broadcasting on breakers.tv (the most common platform) can be accessed with browsers that still support Flash (i.e. free browsers like Puffin or Dolphin (these apps may have in-app purchases to maximize your experience)). Breakers.tv, at the moment, does not have a mobile app.
Many breakers also stream on platforms like YouTube and uStream which have their own mobile apps.
(Obviously, keep your mobile data plan in mind as a live stream may gobble up more data than other apps)
BONUS: HAVE FUN!
And be sure you have FUN!
At the end of the day, we’re just talking about sports cards here! It’s not life or death!
Just stay within your budget and stay positive when you go hitless, praise those who hit big (it’s good karma!) and enjoy the show.